tv Discussion Focuses ont the 13th Amendment and Mass Incarceration CSPAN April 13, 2017 11:55am-1:23pm EDT
>> the 13th amendment to the constitution abolished slavery. a look at how that amendment impacts today's criminal justice system. an naacp legal defense fund attorney and chair of our universities afro-american studies department talk about policing of incarceration, the fight against drugs and the role of prosecutors and grand juries. the foremost part of an annual emancipation day celebration hosted by the hill center in washington d.c. it's about an hour and a half. >> so without further delay, it is my honor to introduce our guests for this moderate discussion, the 13th amendment in the history of policing, black america since slavery. first we have ms. juleyka lantigua-williams. she is the lead editor and producer of npr code switch. she's been a writer and editor for 17 years. [laughing]
she's a former staff writer for the atlantic picture was formally a nationally syndicated columnist with opinion columns covering a broad range of issues from women's rights at home and abroad, if i middle justice, use immigration policy, poverty and maternal health. early childhood development and demographic changes. icons appear in the houston chronicle, the miami herald, the chicago tribune and the "l.a. times", among dozens of national and local papers. she would be in conversation with ms. christina swarns. she is the litigation director of the naacp legal defense and educational funding. christina oversees all aspects of lbs litigation in four key practice areas including economic justice, education, political participation and criminal justice. as a nationally recognized expert on issues of race and colonel justice, should participate in committees,, advisory panels, strategically convening, conferences and
national media interviews including those with pbs "newshour," msnbc, and democracy now!. last but certainly not least we have dr. greg carr, associate professor of africana studies and chair of the department of african studies at howard university, an adjunct faculty at howard school of law. he holds a phd in african american studies from temple university and a jd from the ohio state university college of law. he was a school, he wasn't the schools district of philadelphia first resident scholar on race and culture and his girlfriend of the philadelphia freedom school movement, a community based academic initiative that has evolved over 13,000 elementary high school and college students. he is coeditor of the association for the study of classical african civilization, multi volume world history project and has represented howard university as a spokesman
at a wide range of electronic media which includes ebony magazine, the "new york times," the "washington post," "usa today," msnbc, npr, bbc america, c-span, voice of america, that have a smiley show -- [laughing] and cnn. [inaudible] it is a long list, okay. so please take a moment to help me welcome our guests for this evening. [applause] >> can anybody hear me okay? thank you so much for joining us. you guys look good. 7:00 on a friday. you beat the week. congratulations. so were going to try to keep it a little informal. we were having too much fun in the green room.
so i'm going to bring a little bit of background to our conversation. first stop with the basics. i'm going to read the 13th of minutes of everybody on the panel knows what will be talking about it it's really short. it was ratified in the senate in 1864 and in-house in 1865 and became law that you. it is not as the amendment abolished slavery. i'm going to put that in quotations for a minute. so it reads section one, neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the united states, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. section two, congress shot pow power. most of us are aware of the fine print, right? we've always been what about the signed, the fine print or did
you read the fine print? what's the fine print what our forefathers were not subtle. they actually put the fine print in what is called an exploratory, coming here it is. except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted. and that's what we're going to spend a lot of time talking about, this fine print that was embedded right into the 13th amendment, which many people believe was essentially a loophole. ..
it is actually standing very firmly in the proud tradition when it comes to people of african descent. when you look at the phyllis papers, alexander hamilton was being praised, for i don't know why, this broadway show. he and madison are having these battles. are they people? yes. are they property? yes at the same damn time. we have to resolve this for representation purposes. we are going to count you as property.
the 13th amendment, the congressman from ohio pushes it, lincoln is trying to resolve this, he wants his name on it. it's the only amendment to our constitution that are president signed, even though he didn't have to. he is connected to it even though the years up to it, even here in d.c., he is trying to free some people, keep some people enslaved, trying to work that out. by the 13th amendment the negros have been fighting and causing a contradiction. by the 15th amendment they reach a compromise, one that we still are trying to fight to figure out. we are now not property except when we are property. that basically is the summary of the 13th amendment contradiction and everything that comes after it, the black
[inaudible] and the courts begin to roll that back after reconstruction and you come into the 20th century and the 13th amendment continues to diminish in stature as the courts chop away at it refusing to face the fundamental of whether we can get rid of this inkblot. all of that continues today in this fundamental question of what happens when you have classes of citizenship that are grounded in the fact that some people can literally have their humanity defined differently in the american legal universe but the 13th amendment is the nexus of that. >> let's turn to the legal scholar in the room and asked her, in the immediate aftermath of enacting this, what did it mean in practice? >> so for a little while, the courts tried to give it real meaning. they tried to say that you can't strip african-americans of their rights as citizens.
that was a very brief period of time after the enactment of the 13th amendment. it hasn't been done very much and it hasn't been used very much at all. there were some disgraceful cases at the beginning of the 1900s. the cruickshank case where the supreme court says a brutal clan massacre, they dismiss an indictment because they say this is not something that is a product, that the 13th amendment can reach. this is currently a racially motivated crime. it was brought into federal court the prosecutor said this is exactly what this amendment was about. we cannot have a clan mass curing people based on their race and they should be prosecuted but the supreme court dismisses it and said it's
beyond the reach of the 13th amendment. and then it becomes a dormant amendment. since then there have been two circumstances where it's been used reasonably appropriately. it was enacted partly based on the 13th amendment and the express statement that you cannot brutalize people on their race. the court also says you can't sell a private real estate sale, it cannot be denied the option to purchase property based on the rates. otherwise the courts have largely ignored it or not dealt with at all and so on the many cases that we litigate, that have been litigated over the past hundred years on the issue of race and criminal justice, the 13th amendment is largely quiet.
>> if it's largely quiet in the courtroom, there are other cases where it has helped them solve an entire industry, also known as the prison industrial complex. how does that manage to first such a thing. >> only 60% of african-american people were held for purposes of taxation. it moves from 60 until 52 100%. if a pinch you for selling weed in brooklyn and put you in jail in virginia, guess who lost a person and gained one and neither one can vote. they lost when they gained one and they can vote. you have now people battling to put prisons in their little towns because they are a source of income.
you don't just have an individual who has been harmed, who's been confined to a sub human category by the law, you then have a political economy that his or her ancestors were the fuel for a century before. in some ways the real legacy of the 13th amendment is it creates the possibility of enslaving more than just black people with that except clause. and then they can't participate. i guess there's a couple states that allow you to vote. imagine if you can't vote and want to get out it's difficult to get your rights restored. can you find a job. people are running around saying were going to get block grants to the state in that way we can perhaps get around some of the equitable distribution of resources from the federal government and maybe in the state they can imply a work requirement where you have to have a clean record requirement and we can give some of this
money to poor whites and keep these black and brown people out of it. all of that nefarious stuff is made possible by the except clause in the 13th amendment. >> let's take a really quick audience survey. who has been on an american road before? >> ouwho has slept on a college better sent off a child to sleep on a college bed? who has driven a car with a license plate on it? good. there's a really high likelihood that someone in prison built that road, made that bad, punched out the drivers license number. states have these things called prison industries and their very well-established they get to pay the incarcerated person 25 cents an hour, 10 cents. unit. it is pennies for labor.
this is entirely legal. that's talk a little bit about the financial structure that is now benefiting from this piece in the 13th amendment. >> that goes back a long way. the current use of prisoners is just a direct descendent of a leasing structure that existed immediately in the aftermath of slavery. we had a situation were coming out of slavery laws were created whereby vagrancy and those kinds of offensive, that will only apply to black people and those were created entirely to take black people, free slaves off of the streets and into jail that could then lease them out to back to the plantation, back to the industries that needed bodies to do the work.
the structure was just brutal. unlike slaveowners the companies had no interest. people were literally worked to death. >> i worked with george and he was working on cases where they were doing exactly that. they lock you up and then you don't get a trial until the distant future and in between they would come in rinse you out. you're out there cutting grass and it's a form of enslavement. that was just a few years ago.
you would think we would have made progress in 150 years but that's why they put the civil rights act, congress at least then has tried to put some teeth in the 13th amendment. it survived section 1982 of u.s. code but between then and now, this long retreat from the 13th amendment. there is a lot of labor. anyone who had a student in college is eating at a cafeteria, you have a good chance that is the same company that's feeding the prison. said xo is one. when you get that kind of economic clout you can then purchase politicians. you are pulled into a system where they can't get out there and vote against you. it's a nefarious kind of psycho. >> it's not just leasing out. there are also working areas.
you have prisons that are literally working plantations. i don't know if you've ever been on the grounds of the angola farm. it is the clearest vision of a slave plantation i've ever seen. this is an enormous space with guards with shotguns on horseback and prisoners working out in the field for change. you have to work or you have a problem. >> raise your hand if you knew that 70 million americans are walking around with a criminal record.
chances are there is someone in this very room who has a criminal record raise your hand if you knew that every year 11 million people are cycled through local jails. 11 million. 600,000 people are released from prison and another six or 700,000 are put back in every year. we are not talking about an isolated group of people over there. we are actually talking about people who spend their entire lives tethered, one way or another to the criminal justice system. let's bring it forward to today and talk about the legacy of the 13th amendment. chances are you are 2 degrees of separation from someone in one of those situations.
how do you, in your role, as someone who tries to dismantle the system, how do you approach this in your work. what tools you have available to you. i would like you to take it from the citizens position and answer the same question. >> is a hard question because the supreme court hasn't made it easy to challenge these kinds of laws. we have a series of decisions, if you are trying to deal and make a full frontal attack, the first thing you encounter is the kempt decision and ultimately it was the largest statistical study. the study finds that african american people, black people who are alleged or convicted of killing people are four times
more likely to be sentenced to death in any other race. they take this to the supreme court. they say the supreme court, this has to be unconstitutional. race is an arbitrary factor and can't be considered in deciding whether someone should live or die. the supreme court said not so fast, you just brought statistics and statistics alone are not enough and this is not enough evidence of racial disproportionality in the death penalty and the criminal justice system overall is not a basis for constitutional claim. what the supreme court says is if we open the door here to a conversation about disproportionality in capital punishment, then we have to look at disproportionately throughout the criminal justice system.
once you get into the courthouse, the discretion exercise bike prosecutors is always, at every discretion point in the criminal justice system, discretion is used in a way that african americans receive the harsher end. we have mccluske mccluskey and y that's interesting but you can do anything with that. that's a fascinating facts. that's a big challenge. ultimately we need the supreme court and we have to get that decision overturned. okay. in the short run we do what we can. this year i litigated a case where we tried to bring the high
profile extreme cases to make it clear that this is not a situation. all that stuff about voting discrimination is a thing of the past. that doesn't happen anymore. you have to say this is what's happening. his lawyer said he was likely to commit crimes because he was black. that was his own lawyer. that fact, whether or not you are likely to commit crimes in the future was the prerequisite
for a death sentence. his own lawyer presented evidence that he should be condemned to death, and he was. that was in 1997 and was very 22nd of this year, for the first time we got the sentence reversed. let's be very clear about that. [applause] it is a good outcome. it's the right outcome, but it took from 1990 when he was on death row with court after court thing there's nothing to see here. the challenge is real. it's only because it was so explicit. they couldn't turn away, they couldn't say this isn't racial discrimination, this is something else. there was no way to avoid what was happening. it was clear and that was the thing. you cannot call the something else. so, it's hard and we just try to be consistent and speak truth to power every time, every
opportunity we get. >> you are in the ones% of our legal minds in the country. what to the rest of us do? >> there are people in this room probably within open warrant. if you've missed a court appearance for a ticket or missed your taxes, you don't know until they put the scanner on your license plate and they hit the lights, did you know you have a warrant. there are a lot of us in this room. it isn't just in fact the police chief in the new york times. it was very interesting, campbell has about 8000 people across the bridge from philly. they have taken a deliberate task of de-escalation, trying to move away from violent confrontation, but one of the things they talked about, he said it's the little nuisance tickets. what does it mean to get a $250
ticket when you only make $10000 a year. then the fines pilot. those are people too who are pulled into this. again, i stress there's probably somebody in this room who might have an open warrant. a black man, that's just something we just joke about and sadly that has become our reality. in terms of what we can do, i just came here from st. louis and it's interesting because the 13th amendment, that's the one that supposed to be applied to private action. they argue the 14th amendment and 15th amendment, did you actually say nager when you hit me in the face, no but the amendment coming out of st. louis, the housing case, you didn't sell me this house because i was black. the supreme court says you can't do that. thirteenth amendment. that really reveals that the courts have this outsized power, if they wanted to use the 13th
amendment they could, but as citizens, not just as citizens but as human beings, i think that's more important if you think about it because citizenship speaks to the internal struggle in the united states. if you look at the history of our country we've made the most progress when people go outside the national borders. when it take you to the un and say this is a crime against immunity. but domestic issues, race relations, law and order, sometimes with courtside but in terms of domestically what we can do, ferguson missouri the little suburb of st. louis, we all know the name now they just had a mayoral election. the republic comes back 56% of the vote.
the black woman gets 44% of the vote. when you ask people why they didn't vote they said nothing will change. that's an attitude problem. someone who teaches at the law school and fascinated by the lawn has the utmost respect for these legal minds and come out with a victory, that is transcendent but an individual who in society, what good does it do for you to fight that battle and come to the street and none of these people who could vote voted. there is no excuse. they said doesn't matter. what just do it if it doesn't matter. then when you come and you get these nuisance tickets and you owe $580 and you don't have a check to pay it now you have a warrant on you, maybe that doesn't happen with a different city council and woman who says we need to revise the statue. that is something we can do. it has real consequences. >> let's talk about ferguson becausewhen everybody was
looking at ferguson, they learned none of the elected officials were black, none of the ranking executives and police were black, the ratio of black police officers was one of the lowest in the country and most significantly that the average citizen in ferguson has three outstanding warrants for petty infractions like a broken taillight or not stopping at the stop sign. the average cost was $1500 to the person when ferguson has an annual income lower than the poverty rate of 26000. these are called legal financial obligations and they actually are one of the ways that millions of americans spend a lifetime tethered to the legal system. a study last year in washington found that washington state year-over-year gets in dirty
million dollars in revenue just from legal financial obligations. on average, a person pays $113 a year. sometimes the penalty is $20000, sometimes it's $5000, sometimes it's $15000 and they pay an average of $113 to the state. and administrative fees, late fees, these are all added on if you miss a payment. what happens also is these things show up in the public record so if you are trying to buy a house and you've got an outstanding lf oh, you won't get the house. this happened to a man i interviewed in florida. he committed a misdemeanor, he served his four years, he came out, he couldn't get a job because of his record but he managed to do some handiwork, but when he was sentenced, the
judge had sentenced him also put in the sentence that he has to pay restitution to the state for every day he was imprisoned. when he came out of prison in florida, he had a $63000 tab. he has resigned to not paying that but he's also resigned to not owning a home, to not be able to cosign a college loan for a child in the future, and this is someone in his 30s. because of the mistake he made in his 20s, he went through the system, spent for five years, now he has $65000 and no ability to pay whatsoever. where my going with this? back to the voting. one of the things, places like ferguson in milwaukee and baltimore, there is big news today concerning baltimore, they have been systematically
disenfranchised from the system. what difference does it make if i vote. here's the difference it makes. prosecutors in this country are elected. 2400 prosecutors in the country are elected. the only state whether or not elected is new jersey. if you don't live in new jersey and you don't vote, somebody else is going to make that decision for you. i would like you to discuss the role of the prosecutors in like eight minutes. i was just an essay about the money, we recently found another example of that. we found a brief in a challenge to houston's bale system. in harris county in houston texas, they have a system of what we call wealth based bale for misdemeanors. you're arrested and charged and
there's a schedule that says this is the amount of bail for this charge. what does it take into consideration, criminal history. what does it not take into history income. so if you are a rich college professor and i am not and we both get arrested the same day for the same offense and they said $50, 150-dollar bill, you're going home and i'm staying in. same background, same criminal history, everything. the only difference between you going home or going in is money. it's your ability to pay bail. that is insane. as you can imagine, the racial disproportionality inherent in that structure, you have people of color, black and latino spending time in jail. you don't even get to talk about your ability to pay for days.
you've now been in jail for days and you don't even get to bring it up and have a conversation about it. this is the structure in houston. it's so dug into the system, this idea of capitalizing on criminal justice is so deeply tied to the system. for the northerners, in philadelphia the average cost of being sent to prison for shopliftinshoplifting is a $50 t if you can't pay 10% of the $50 fine you get to stay in jail. what is 10% of $50.5. but wait a second, the irony is that it cost philadelphia $103. night to keep someone in jail. >> that's insane.
so it becomes a spiral for people is what happens is you get arrested on wednesday, you missed two days of work, you can call in, you would get fired on monday so now you've got a pending court case and you've got fines accruing because you weren't able to pay, your rent is due. there is an election in houston, sort of a black lives matter campaign was launched in houst houston, a very tough unfair prosecutor was voted out of office in the new prosecutor who is in filed a brief in support of bail reform and that is completely as a result of this
new effort of understanding and engaging around prosecutors and election campaigns so that is a sign of hope. prosecutors, enormous unchecked power over the criminal justice system. there is no supervision, no oversight at all. not from the courts, nowhere about the decisions that the prosecutor makes. the supreme court made sure that was the case in a decision called the united states versus armstrong. there is, hypothetically, a legal claim called selective prosecution. i could say i see in wherever, washington d.c., the only people going to jail for crack cocaine offenses are african-american. you are only prosecuting black men for drug crimes and we know the numbers are 5050 use of drugs in this district. you could say that. i could say that and i could say i want to sue because it looks like the prosecutor, and i'm not speaking literally, but this prosecutor is discriminating
against african-americans. the supreme court says well i need discovery because i need the data and you prosecutor has all of the information about what cases you looked at to decide which one was going to be charged in which one was not so this is called discovery. i need you to disclose the data so we can all take a look. if you haven't discriminated you have don't have anything to worry about. the supreme court says no you don't get that, you don't have access to the information that allows you to support a selective prosecution claim. so ultimately prosecutors decide what crime is going to be charged. that decision determines what sentence you will get and that is the only decision that decides what you get. you can get a range but the charging decision dictates the ultimate sentencing decision. it is literally unchecked discussion.
the only way it is checked is in the voting booth. if there are patterns like this of discrimination. in a county there was a situation where the last prosecutor had a witness who had mental health problems and she decided she didn't want to testify so the prosecutor had her put in jail where she was beaten and attacked so she got voted out of office. that is the only current power to control what prosecutors are doing. it is critical for people to be following what prosecutors are doing and acting on it by going in to the voting booth. >> who here knows the teenager who sometimes hangs out with knuckleheads. too let's say your son, daughter, niece, nephew
goddaughter and his or her knuckleheaded friends vandalize something and there's four of them. well they all get sent to jail, they call you trying to guess what. the prosecutor is up for reelection next year so there's a high probability that your niece, nephew, cousin, friend and their friends are going to get charged as a gang for vandalism, for petty theft or whatever the crime was, but wait for it, it gets better. depending on where you are and up until september this was from the state of california the prosecutor has the right for direct file which means he or she alone can determine whether or not that child will be sent to juvenile justice court or adult criminal court. in california the citizenry
decided 20 years ago to enact to give the power to the prosecutor's because there was a gang violence wave and this is one way to litigate this very quickly. twenty years later they decided actually, that really didn't work out well because youth crime in california is down 40% but the number of direct files is going in the opposite direction. it was a very contested referendum that passed last ye year. fifteen states and d.c. still have this in the books. this lovely person asked us earlier what my assignment, your assignment if you want to do something, is to figure out the one thing you can pluck at that will make a difference. that's what happened in california. people decided this is crazy, why does one single person
looking at only the police report, that's all they look at, how does one person gets to determine what happens to these young people, and then they organize and organize and organize. let's talk about baltimore. this brings us to today. does everyone know what happened in baltimore today? in places like baltimore and milwaukee and ferguson and a couple other places, our previous attorney general and his team and the one before that entered into these agreements with the police department. sometimes voluntarily and sometimes they left the table kicking and screaming but the agreement was signed. it basically says we recognize you have a lot of work to do and we recognize we have to play a role in that. let's make a plan for how we will make you better. well, baltimore decided a couple
years ago they wanted more supervision. they wanted to help and support of the attorney general and the d.o.j. today, the new york attorney general, decided this was a good idea for baltimore to enter into the agreement and the new attorney general said the following about the agreement. make no mistake baltimore is facing a violent crime crisis. in short the citizens of baltimore are plagued by violent crime that shows no signs of letting up. i have grave concerns that some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers of the police department and result in a less safe city. >> i respect him because he's fighting for something that's
dying in his silly minded little racialist view of the world is dying and he's fighting as hard as he can. i can respect that. they have a discussion of controlling bodies. women's bodies, poor people bodies and he engaged and said you have national rights and we have the rights of state. you might think somehow these things, one could supersede the other but when it comes to the nigro, you're not a citizen of the state or the united states. why is that important and how does it relate to baltimore? their obsession is to play a shell game with the state rights for the federal government as it suits them. what he did, were upset about the race and we should be, but the legal fiction of separating out between the federal
government and the state is really part of this game. when he says we will back off of the police except when when we need too, there is no consistency in his legal argument. and a lot of the cities the police chief alike know, even as the rank-and-file officer the chiefs are like no. what's going to happen is, if the department of justice backs away, there will be cities that go ahead. then they have to choose am i going to jump in now and put the hammer down and revealed to everybody that i don't care about the law, this is about me preserving my warped view of the world? i suspect he will. if he does that we can begin, in terms of what we can do, we can reframe how we look at the law because ralph said the nigro is
a special award in the supreme court. were always looking for the federal government to intervene to help us, but if we look at law is something we can build consensus on prosecutors like the guy in brooklyn and dallas, kamala harris should've been a little more progressive before she became the senator from california, but at the local level if we tell the federal government we got this, were going to have to force them, now do you want to come in with the thunder and say no, you can free up the police because you freed us up and we made this twist at the local level. this was a mentality born in the civil war. it wasn't born with him. >> you need water.
>> what's needed now is not water but fire. [applause] >> i meant that with my whole heart. >> we know. >> all right. i want to draw a parallel here if you will allow me because some people will look at the statements as a preemptive strike, as a set up of some sort, the way that the crime wave and the crime bill in the '90s was a preemptive strike which then provided an authority of sorts so nixon was one of the first presidents to utilize this method of preemptively saying there is a fire and i'm going to
bring the huge water cannons. so nixon set in motion the war on drugs, for example, and now we understand how much damage that created. were still dealing with the ramifications. bill clinton also set up a similar preemptive strike with the crime bill, being tough on crime. is this in the same vein? where does this go because we have a more aware and empowered citizenry and we have an administration that didn't come in with the popular vote and leading up to the first 100 days has been haphazard, at best about the way to govern. [laughter] listen, i know my sat words. if this is a plan to strike,
what we do or what is next? from the administration's point of view, what are the intentions? >> let me say that first of all, i would say it's a war on black people. let's be clear about what that was. the war on crime. i don't like it's much different now. i want to use the example of drugs again. it is fascinating to watch the current approach to the problem of drugs in the heartland. >> the opioid addiction. >> it is fascinating. we have an attorney general who is so concerned about crime but he is not concerned about drug crime because drug crime, the face of drug crime is now white. when the face of drug crime was
black, then it was a crime problem. now it is a public health problem. i think the way he has responded to chicago and baltimore, that's crime. drugs are now health. that is the clearest way you can see what is happening with race. people who struggle with drug problems are people who struggle with drug problems. it's the same. addiction is addiction wherever it manifests itself. so the choice about how you deal with it. that's what we are seeing just as plain as day the way it's being handled right now. baltimore and chicago need brutal police, we need to go back to the good old days of violence and force. the heartland we just need doctors and medicine. i think that tells the story.
>> so what is the arc of history taking us after this preemptive strike? >> it's interesting. he went to school in tennessee, went south and set i'm going to devote my life to the struggle, this human struggle. he wrote his doctoral dissertation at harvard regarding slave trade in the united states. he said nobody could've looked on with more for i what happened in the civil war than the people who started the country. they would've never imagined that would have been the result, but he said the reason they couldn't imagine it is because they didn't understand that it was the moral that they sewed into the country and it was going to keep coming back until it was resolved. the right time to correct a moral wrong is the moment you become aware otherwise you will keep facing it. >> it's called the original sin. >> that's exactly right.
we haven't left the legal universe of the 13 amendment. when you create aid, a category that assigned people to levels of citizenry and you assign whiteness as the only definition of humanity in the legal universe you will find your folks faced with, when white folks have a drug addiction we have to treat them. they are human beings. anyone you don't treat, you are saying you're not human. what happens when you have a swelling group of people who are considered not human except they keep having babies, and now they are out there and you can't put them all in jail. eventually well you have is a situation where you're going to come to them one day and say were ready now to try to solve this and they're going to say not this time. we've seen this show about eight times. get the gun, get the gas, let's finish the job. if people think it's
apocalyptic, all we have to do is remember we are in 2017 and martin king, who came out against the war didn't live another year. because he said it's military in capitalism and the ways to suppress people not only based on the color of their skin but their wealth and if you keep doing that there will be an autopsy for this country. he could be the war on crime or the donald trump, but it just means the country will dissolve. people will stop believing that this framework can solve our problems. >> let's stay with the issue of race. you both have made elegant points about how race is a foundational element in this. i just came across this book called the colony in the nation and this is one of the things he argues. he says american history is the
story of white fear, of the constant violent impulses it produces in the management and ordering of those impulses. white fear keeps the citizens of the nation wary of the colony, and he means those imprisoned, in the physical prison and fuels their desire to keep it separate. so even the white person is still fearful? >> no way. it's not white fear, it's white entitlement. he takes that line from nixon and he gave an interview in the new york times magazine and he said if you had one book you wanted everyone in the country to read, he said black reconstruction in america heard the assumption that nonwhite people in this country are a figment of white people's imagination is the height of
white entitlement. >> because they invented us. >> exactly and somehow our entire existence depends on what they think of us so, what i'm saying, i think chris hayes is brilliant and very insightful and at the same time i'm looking at him like dude, this is like the new jim crow. there was a book that was written criminalizing a race. [inaudible] ida wells breaks down the entirety of how this whole situation comes out out of a legal universe. what ends up happening is every generation we are faced with this narcissistic labeled gazing on behalf of white liberalism that continues to lead us in the direction of trying to define our humanity.
that's got to be displaced. how do we do it? we begin conceding that if we are going to make this project work, we all have to come to the table as human beings in our glorious tapestry of differences and redefine the terms. that's what the 13th amendment, when they pass the 13th the moment they said people should be able to make contracts and then they say these rights should be practiced as they are enjoyed by white citizens. what does that mean? that means we are going to remove whiteness to the degree possible as the conduit for people being able to move through the universe and ultimately it says as applied to whites citizens applies to white people too. we are trying to restore whiteness as the normative defaults if you get in trouble it's your fault.
if you're a drug addict it's your fault. you were going to fast it's your fault. in other words it becomes the victim, the victim becomes the person who can never escape that definition. i don't think there is a solution to this problem as long as we look to the chris hayes of the world to give us enlightenment on something that we live every day. >> i was trying to introduce a different perspective. you are giving us the syllabus. >> i'm sorry in all due respect, i do appreciate his work. i'm just fired up. but i suppose i should say this very succinctly, the challenge then in terms of education is to get our young people to possess their agency. that's really what i'm trying to
say. in other words the experiences become the foundation of how we solve the problem, not looking for experts to tell us we are in a miserable condition and here's the steps you need to take. if you want to help me, put more money in public education. stop betsy devos from privatizing in the name of whatever she believes and who probably could've gotten into any school, but it's got to be done that way. >> i think that's a great segue because i wanted to talk about the movement for black lives. black lives matter. we will go to christina so you can have some water. [laughter] it's the eternal flame this brings up the point that since
michael brown there has been a magness magnificent resurgent of this claim to self-direction, this claim for self-definition, and it has really invigorated the conversation around who gets to define my humanity. so has that had any ripple effects in tangible ways in the legal system? how so. >> yes absolutely. i would begin with my case. like i said, five years ago we had the supreme court saying, in a case called shelby county that all those voting problems that congress acknowledged ten years ago, those are gone. there a thing of the past. then this year we have the supreme court in two cases acknowledging racial discrimination and my case is another out of georgia where prosecutor uses, excludes african-americans from the jury. last term the supreme court
reaffirms the university of texas race conscious admission process, a long fight which was brought as a challenge to end any form of race conscious admission in higher education. real risk and the court ultimately upholds the policy and brings an end to this long-running case. really powerful and these three cases really powerful language. i think they wouldn't have gotten there, i am confident they wouldn't of gotten there had we not seen what we had all seen for the years before. i argued my case days after charlotte exploded. there was no way for us to be standing in the supreme court talking about race and have experts saying that a black man is more dangerous isn't real. it doesn't matter to a jury while charlotte was on fire.
it just became impossible for the court to turn a blind eye to say this isn't real. the videos, the brutal response to people and children and teenagers, young people on the street and the brutality that we are faced in response to just owning their humanity. just standing up and saying black lives matter was met with tanks and guns and everything else. it really did change. did it change it enough? not even close, but five years ago the supreme court said there is no more discrimination in voting. there is no voting discrimination. there's nothing to worry about and now the supreme court, justice roberts, in my case, writes about racial discrimination and i am quoting him. some toxins can be lethal in small doses. he is talking about racial discrimination.
that is justice roberts. that is, to say the world has changed is an understatement. that pressure has to be kept up. we cannot stop exposing and talking and pushing and requiring people to acknowledge the injustices that are happening on the street. it cannot stop. >> one of the places symbolically and practically where much of this took hold is on college campuses. we haven't seen the type of resurgence of activism since the 60s and 70s. how has that shaped the young minds that you are in charge of shaping, and what is this renaissance of self empowerment
doing as you usher them out into the world. >> that's very generous. i don't think these young people are being ushered are shaped by anything but i think social media and the way the media has transformed with technology has displaced the classroom as a place where you can convene these kind of conversations to scale. you're right, i'm sure we remember the anti-apartheid movement in the 80s and 90s and those kind of formations and you see the 60s, of course. this generation, i just left the gates and we talk about the campaign in south africa which was get this rose statue off the cape town university. they said we must pay for education. these young people from all over
the country knew about this and were concerned with the university of missouri missoula. these movements now have the potential to unsettle some things that people actually care about in this country like money. misery is a great example. we talked about it today. y'all know about the concerns of 1950 and it was funny because we talked about university of missouri being integrated, and nobody still knows what happen happened. anyway, the students realize when the football player at missouri, and i'm from the sou south. [inaudible] let me cherry pick the next euro witthat runs fast and the girl h the five-point oh gpa, but when
you see the football players to mount say this has to end, they start getting rid of chancellors and say the board of trustees needs to meet, that's what happens when young people weapon nicer education and by that i mean transform what they begin to understand into action. it's one thing if we do it. were academics, your riders and lawyers. no no no. there goes the basketball player who we just saw hit the winning shot in the final four. when she steps out, we've got a problem. finally all these young people are talking to each other. that is the x factor. this thing could flip overnight if we could figure out how to continue to recruit these young people into their own liberation. it's an exciting time. >> we will take your questions. i just want to have one more
intervention and i'll bring it back to codification's of bodies in the 13th amendment. there's a movement across the country to declare blue lives matter by saying violence against police is hate crimes. take the way. >> there's a lot wrong with it. it's largely redundant. there are already laws on the books in every state that enhance penalties for crimes against police officers. there is no, there is nothing necessary, there's nothing needed to be done. it's already an enhanced crime. this is literally optics and wordplay to try to diffuse the power of the black lives matter movement. and to suggest or to attempt to equalize or suggest that police officers face the kind of
jeopardy or physical violence that african-americans do which is not remotely equitable. it's not a fair comparison at all. legally it simply redundant. the law already exists that's a done deal. but, realistically, the government refused to count how many black people are killed, how many people are killed by the police until recently. the government had literally refused to count it and now we know and you see you can go on the washington post and all of these websites and watch the running typ tally and it's horrifying. there is no comparison to the number of black people that are killed and hurt and wounded by police officers in this country. it's a ridiculous attempt to suggest that what israel which
is that black people really are in jeopardy in many instances on the street when confronted by police officers. it's an attempt to distort that reality. >> i'm going to say something and i have a different final question for you. just fyi, something else we might not be aware of, when the crime report comes out every year, they make a really big deal about it, it only covers eight categories of crimes. it is gathered by voluntary information provided by police departments and jurisdictions across the country and they are not legally compelled to share their information, and of those eight crimes, they only represent about 18% of all crimes committed in the united states. next time you see the crime report, remember that. remember that is on a voluntary basis because not everyone is compelled. the d.o.j. has no way to control
the police department. they're not trying to have a national clearinghouse. for those of you who don't know, after ferguson arrested, police chief claimed that his white officers were afraid, not in ferguson but wherever, they were afraid to go into certain neighborhoods because they thought their lives would be in greater jeopardy after the election in ferguson so they dubbed this the ferguson effect. they went to milwaukee and gathered all of the 911 calls one year prior to the death of a
young black man on behalf of police and one year after the death of police. they came back and realized that the real ferguson effect was that fewer people were calling 911 immediately after a highly publicized death of a black person at the hands of police. the communities were afraid that if they called the police in the neighborhood someone would end up dead. in total it was 22000 calls to 911. >> the fundamental issue is what
is the function of police in society. shortly after a young man named robinson lost his life. it makes us question if this can be reformed he walked through how their training officers. if you encounter someone who has a knife and get them to defuse the situation, these two ground officers walk and talk this guy into a corner and he eventually put the knife down. normally they come in.
this is beginning to have a a fact. now you want to kick in the door. if it's to maintain law and order then you've got an automatic adversarial relationship. if you say they are human and you put on a uniform and go to work because your job is not just to keep us safe but to help us move in community, then perhaps there is a way to have the police come into the state.
they realize they don't do it and i'll be in the locker room they say we need more prosecutors. that is in all. i think whatever the solution is, it can't involve escalating the conflict with law enforcement in a long-term strategy. now, i could do that but the only result you get is a full-scale warfare. what has history shown us? if it gets bad enough some of those people will put their guns down or turn those guns on the people that they came out with pointing gun. the crisis will reach a point
and they have to make a choice, and my blue or brown or human. the police will not like the decisions the cops make. at that point, you've got to pull out of vietnam because now what is the role of policing in the society. questions. >> i'll take your question on the side of the room first. come right over here. >> within policing, if you want to get promoted you have to make arrest. if you want assignments you have to make arrest. if you want to make overtime, you have to make arrest. can you speak to that?
>> no. [laughter] >> so when the report came out in the wake of ferguson, they were looking at 3000 police districts in the country, most of them are less than ten officers and the head of the police union here in d.c. had this conversation. you can't keep defending the police. stop, listen, do you hear? you have to make a different decision. can you create a plan whereby you can get promoted and make your advances and get your raises and is not built on locking people up or arresting people? that the policy question. remember, the police and municipality reports to a larger structure. that means some of these people have to get a little more brave. some of these elected officials have to get more brave. as you reform the policy, go into the policy manual and when the police union comes, break
their back. and by that i mean force them into a conversation with their rank-and-file because when the people say i don't want to get promoted based on arrests, you have to tell your wraps that. the people at the top are just out there, i think it's policy fix and that's just incremental. >> it's not just what you identified, but it's also if you say something. if you say something about the beat down that you saw, if you say something, then they will not come for you when you radio and you'll be left out there. that is the culture right now in law enforcement in this country. they really have to be a complete culture shift in the way the police department is
structured. at this point it's promoted as a paramilitary organization. you think about how it's advertised, inviting people who want to be in the swat team, who want to kick down doors in the doing the dance on the street. that's the advertising credits not come here and asking people who want to solve problems to come. that's not what they're inviting. they are inviting people who want to deliver beat downs. that's the whole structure of the way it's promoted so that all has to be changed. i want to add that i've reported from san antonio where they implemented a really great program called crisis intervention training and it's actually taken hold throughout the country. so they decided that he didn't have the capacity in terms of deputies to house as many people
as they were arresting for things like domestic violence incidents, drunken behavior, things that were not criminal in that there wasn't really a violent crime and so they decided to run an experiment and they trained three officers, they sent them to an academy called crisis intervention training and it's all de-escalation technique. it's all talking someone down in a moment of crisis because this is what people don't realize that police officers are almost always coming into contact with someone at their worst possible moment. they're almost always in crisis, and so they took these three police officers out of the normal location and they were only called into situations where there was no one in imminent danger and no one about to die for whatever and the responding officer was to stay outside of the door, sort of
like a safety zone established in these three officers would come in and talk down and negotiate and de-escalate the situation. the program was so successful that now they are training all of their officers in cit and in five years they saw a 23% drop in arrests and they were able to divert people into social services who needed psychiatric interventions and other social support. there are alternatives. if you in your community see there is. [inaudible] put pressure so the training can be adopted there. >> the rewards structure should get promoted by not arresting people. >> ask about grand juries, that
was a big talk for a second. >> there was a lot of confusion over what they actually do and prosecutor saying telling us that prosecutors only bring cases to the grand jury when they want to and it goes back to your talk about prosecutors have complete, it sounds like a grand jury is just a pocketbook of a prosecutor. what do you think about grand juries and what do we do about them and what's going on with them? >> that's a great question. the defense, people like me, if i, i don't have, i can ask and call up the prosecutor and say if i know there's a witness who has information, i think you should ask the grand jury if they want to hear from this witness, they have no obligation to do that. i have no control over it.
i can go, my client can go on the grand jury but everything is said to be used against him or her sometime certainly i put people on the grand jury if they have a compelling story and also remember to say ask to see the witness, but you have to be very creative about getting the other side in. it's a situation where the prosecutor, it depends on jurisdiction. it depends what the rules are in that jurisdiction, but always where there is a grand jury, the presentation is exclusively within the control of the prosecutor. for example in ferguson, they basically presented all of the prosecutions version of the story to the grand jury and then the michael brown version and those who were interested didn't
have an opportunity ever to be heard and that in the case. they say there's no charges available. in staten island, will never know. there was a case presented to the grandjury in the eric garner case and that the black box. they wanted access to the transcript but in public interest there was no access. it's a secret proceeding. there is no right of access to it in any jurisdiction so when the ferguson, that was a big deal to release the transcript. it cuts both ways. i can say to you authoritatively, you can't say you should abolish the grand jury because and empowered, what we need to do is empower the grand jury. the truth of the matter is, the jurors make the decision but the jurors have to know they are the
ones in control, not the prosecutor. the jurors can do whatever they want. you can say i want to see more, i would like to see are there other witnesses. they are the ones in control. they can ask for anything they want in the grand jury room. that is not something the prosecutor feels like they have to share, but that is the truth. i practice in new york for a while and you find that grand jury's have a term of service. they have a beginning term, grand jury were the worst because they didn't know anything. they are always getting an indictment because they were just following the prosecutor. and the others were like radicalized. they had realized i can do anything i want so you should always have an end term grand jury. you should always have a jury that understand its rights and its power because if you have that you get a legitimate process and a legitimate evaluation of the evidence.
i can't say we should never have a grand jury, we should have a fair grand jury where people understand the power and they don't have to do everything the prosecutor says the matter what the prosecutor says. all right. please help me thank them. >> let's take one more question what is your argument to people in positions of power, say white people in positions of power who are dismantling their own privilege? so, i'm going to play two thought experiments. one thought experiment is say a white man in western pennsylvania, the economic system has basically destroyed his livelihood and the only thing he has to hold onto is his whiteness. the other scenario might be a white liberal in new york city, and there they get to hold onto the whiteness. again, what is your argument. >> your life would be better. if you really want to take the
al with the disease you have and you don't have any access, all they have to do is look at history. after the civil war there is a brief period and people may refer to it as the agrarian. shortly thereafter, these folks are trying to organize and they're shooting back and they're the ones who get in trouble. i think the impulse in this country, there's enough people of good will begin to form coalitions that threaten to undermine what's keeping that in place. let's see how your life has gotten better every time you've
tried this and see what happens and this time don't go for the okey-doke. there may seemed like there's material interested in the long-range but this is not going to last. if i was a 16 or 17-year-old and i was in a school and they taught me what the grand jury was or what i was supposed to do, when the notice came to my house i wouldn't say i'll go to jury duty. i would be looking to go to the grand jury. that undermines the mets and craziness.
it's whiteness has engendered everyone. >> there's a lot more evidence not just about whiteness but for example corporations that have women on their boards make a lot more money. there's a lot more examples that women managers and managers who are people of color tend to have better teams, they tend to outsell to inclusion and it has now quantified and been measur measured. that's the argument i always made. i know we like keeping the most of our money. we like to keep the money we
work so hard for. don't you realize the connected net worth would rise. it is apathetic all to your self preservation, not trying to maximize your own income in that way. we have income in many ways. >> on that point exactly there are studies that show diverse juries outperform and they make more errors and they deliberate less. they do not ask questions.